‘Brontë in Boots’ and other poems by Denise Ryan


The summer is in town
when the ducklings wear their sequins;
performing the salsa,
gliding on the continental ripples
from the lights’ projections.
Glistening water arena of summer juices
featuring mirrored swans
wearing white tuxedos dancing the tango
to an applauding sun
and ever changing clouds
imperilled on the lacquered sky.
Delicately they flush their sacred win,gs
a waterfall of transparent energy
to baptise birds.
Happily, I rest beneath the arm
of a weeping willow.
Time is in no frantic rush,
unwinding near the rushes.
Can-Can dancers perform on the Canal Bank,
swishing their feathers to and fro,
a chorus line of marsh plants,
costumed in petticoats of weeds
and black root stockings.
They look burlesque for the seedy traffic,
as clowning butterflies uplift –
their papier-mâché coats,
like tiny fluorescent parachutes
ejecting from the smallest of flowers
landing gently on the rugged edge
of silken waters.

Brontë in Boots

Winter, my Heathcliff warms the narrative,
growing in my chamfered heart.
I imagine the moors reaching out behind
the city skyline, heather snapping like a whip;
under my studded-belt, novels gleam into portholes.
November mornings drool in romanticism,
I am at home among sinuous shadows
tailored in the fabric of winter,
listening to the wind’s barbed echoes fence the swallow like snow.
I sip my coffee, staring at the clouds’ heavy
hopelessness, whorls of hail clatter
against my window like Kathy’s shattered soul,
winter’s air is a man’s granite kisses;
the dark, his wiry black hair.
Like a metal flower, I bloom in biker boots
and cashmere, welcoming winter’s
intractable sorrow and it’s inward desolation.
Dwarfed under the emptiness of light
leaves unhook themselves from hollow trees.


You plant
your thoughts on duality
inside the cranium of her skull.
They grow into razor-edged roses
creeping down her nasal spine.
You wedge art inside her eye sockets,
arousing your desires to bloom through her frontal bone.
Her body mirrors a five-point star touching nothing,
except light touching darkness,
the moon cowering under her breastbone like a nuclear atom,
the gods assembling on the Moebius strip of her hip,
while you sit in the carnal cavity of her cheeks,
breathing in the olive air of Cadaqués,
your restless need for form hardening into infinity.

On a High

Build me a house in the cleft of a cliff
where we can live life on the edge,
raise it up on wooden stilts
so we can see the neck of the ocean
and feel the sun in the folds of our skin
drink gin for breakfast
moshing in the shadows
cracking the morning bones
both naked in blushing light
pebble-eyed and dewy
watch the night crawl like a giant crab
as we lie on the blue tongue of the moon
breathing each other in like vapour,
but promise never to look down
the fall too steep.

Out of the Blue

We enter sleep as conjoined twins,
my head resting on your chest
listening to your heart beating
like the thundering drums of China.
I lie twisted within myself
as the moon capsizes over Asia,
nursing my dreams, but one.
The heart reveals itself in time.
I imagine how beautiful it must look,
a clotted poppy
rooted between your lungs,
sluicing bouquets of blood through your veins.
I long to hold your thick burning fist
in the ewer of my hand,
kiss your hollow-pumping swell
that love acclaims
nuzzling my face into the smooth
membrane of the inner surface,
tasting a mouthful of your existence,
shadows shifting around neck and elbow
as you push in the blue light
detaching from our wild flower oneness
gaping from your wiry chest
an ugly black emptiness.
Brontë in Boots and other poems © Denise Ryan. Play Stone (Youtube)


Denise Ryan is a writer of contemporary poetry from Dublin, Ireland. Denise has been published in THE SHOP, Crannóg Magazine, and also several online journals including Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts.

Between 2010 and 2013, Denise was selected to write a series of poems for the National Famine Commemoration. In 2010 Flowers of Humility was read at the Dublin Commemoration and at the overseas twinning event in New York in Battery Park when President Mary McAleese officiated at the ceremony. Denise has been internationally received and has been highly recommended, shortlisted and runner-up in several poetry competitions. These include The Francis Ledwidge, and the Jonathan Swift awards. She is a member of the Rathmines Writers Workshop, which is the longest-running writers workshop in Ireland. Denise’s poetry has been published as part of an anthology by the workshop’s Swan Press, entitled Prose on a Bed of Rhyme (2012).Her debut collection, Of Silken Waters, was published in Autumn 2017, through Ara Pacis Publishers (Chicago, USA). Denise is currently writing her second collection for publication.

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